10 games we (probably) won't see until 2012

2011 is going to be a pretty big year for gaming. The launch of the 3DS is looming large, Sony’s prepping a stable of high-profile sequels, and a bunch of games that were delayed out of their planned 2010 releases will finally arrive. That last item raises the question of which high-profile 2011 games will actually see release this year, and which ones will be shoved – either by longer-than-expected development cycles or market forces – into the uncertain void of 2012.

You know it’s going to happen. It always happens. It’s just a question of what it’ll happen to. In order to properly brace for unexpected disappointment, we’ve taken a look at some of 2011’s biggest releases and – based on what little we know now – made a few guesses as to what’s going to be pushed out to next year.

Scoff all you want, but remember: the last time we did this, our predictions were 100 percent accurate. Will we repeat that success? Let’s hope not.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

First announced: December 2010

Since then, we’ve seen: A screenshot-filled preview in the latest issue of Game Informer (along with a coded poem and a bunch of behind-the-scenes videos shot at Bethesda's offices), and also this announcement trailer:

Why it’ll be delayed: This prediction might be a little shaky, seeing as Skyrim has a cool-looking release date – 11/11/11 – that it would be an awful damn shame to miss. However, experience has taught us that release dates on trailers are never as ironclad as they seem, and that goes double for teaser trailers that don’t feature so much as a glimpse of the actual game.

That is unless Skyrim turns out to be some kind of side-scroller in which all the characters look like animated carvings in a stone relief. Actually, that idea sounds kind of awesome. Someone should totally make that.

Above: Go on, tell us you wouldn’t play a game that looks just like this

And yeah, we're aware that since that trailer went live, Bethesda's released a ton of screens and behind-the-scenes videos through Game Informer that show the game is pretty well underway. However, that isn't necessarily the same as being less than a year from market-readiness, especially when we're talking about a game of Skyrim's scope. Also, those of you with particularly long memories might remember that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was originally slated for a similar fall release in 2005, but then pushed back to the following March. Four years before that, the exact same thing happened to the third ES game, Morrowind. So it’s not like there isn’t a precedent here.

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): Given that Bethesda hasn’t really produced a game since 2008’s Fallout 3, it’s not out of the question that we’ll see Skyrim break the delay curse of the last two Elder Scrolls games. In that case, we can expect to see a wider preview session around GDC or, at the latest, E3. And that all-ones release date will turn out to have been more than just optimistic hubris.

Mass Effect 3

First announced: February 2008

Since then, we’ve seen: This teaser trailer from the 2010 VGAs:

Why it’ll be delayed: Like a lot of the entries in this article, we’re singling out Mass Effect 3 mainly because we’ve barely seen it – and 12 months out from the release of any major game, we’ve usually seen a lot more than just a cinematic teaser. But that’s not the only reason; after all, it’s not unheard of for a huge, triple-A game to have a stealthy sequel within a year. Assassin’s Creed II did it, and we didn’t even know that AC: Brotherhood existed until last May.

But more than that, our skepticism comes from everything else BioWare’s planning on doing this year. It isn’t quite the small operation it used to be, true, but we’re skeptical of any (non-Square Enix) developer that claims it can turn out three super-high-profile RPGs – one of which is an MMO – in a single year. (Four, if you count the PS3 release of Mass Effect 2.)

Above: This is Mass Effect 2 on PS3, but since it’s running in the Mass Effect 3 engine, it’s the closest thing we have to an ME3 screenshot

Dragon Age II and The Old Republic? Those we can believe. We’ve been seeing quite a bit of them for a while now, and their targeted release dates are early enough that a delay probably wouldn’t push them out of the calendar year. However, getting those two to market AND rolling out Mass Effect 3 – sequel to one of the biggest, most impressive games of 2010 – in time for a nebulous holiday release is a pretty tall order.

We’re not saying it’s impossible – just that we’ll be surprised if it happens. A slip into next January seems much more likely, especially considering that that’s when both the PC/360 and PS3 versions of Mass Effect 2 hit.

Above: Still just ME2. Sorry if we got your hopes up

Best-case scenario (if we’re wrong): It’ll turn out that the only reason BioWare wasn’t showing off ME3 was because it didn’t want to overshadow Mass Effect 2‘s PS3 debut, in which case we’ll see a big reveal in the coming weeks – or, at the latest, during next month’s GDC.

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  • brickman409 - January 13, 2012 10:48 p.m.

    i still cant believe to this day that duke nukem forever actually came out
  • Miles_Endsly - April 4, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    Is it just me or does that screen shot of Diablo 3 look a heck of a lot like Pre in Guild Wars first?
  • aaronbuhagiar - January 25, 2011 2:45 a.m.

    Don't forget Grand theft Auto V
  • Yeager1122 - January 22, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    No i hope Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim dont get delayed.
  • aFATALmiracle - January 22, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    I want Battlefield 3 already. I think my best gaming days were spent playing with my buddies on BF2, and I want to be able to relive the glory days of pwnage. Oh, and please come on with Episode 3.
  • IsaacClarkeDeadSpace - January 22, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    I want Mass Effect 3!
  • Dredgon - January 22, 2011 7 a.m.

    I really want ME 3 to come out this year, as I like the idea of having two great BioWare sequels "bookend" an astounding year! But, I still wouldn't be surprised, yet very disappointed, though it would probably just be a month, into January, if anything at all. But I'm confident BioWare can do it, they're the best ever!!!!!
  • The4X - January 22, 2011 3:13 a.m.

    So Duke Nukem trailer appeared...
  • FanofSaiyan - January 22, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    One game we probably also won't see until 2012 would be Assassin's Creed 3, chances are it's already in development...
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - January 21, 2011 11:35 p.m.

    Yeah I don't think Battlefield 3 or Saints Row 3 are coming out till at least 2012.
  • GammaGames - January 21, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    Duke Nokem Forever you may want to fix that
  • soren7550 - January 21, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    I don't think that Mass Effect 3 will be delayed, since BioWare has been really good with keeping their Mass Effects released on time.
  • Collymilad - January 21, 2011 9:59 p.m.

    Just give me ME3 and I'll be happy.
  • NightAce84 - January 21, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    When Fallout 3 was made, half of the Bethesda team was put to work on a "secret" game. That was Skyrim. This game has been YEARS into development and is nearly almost done. Bethesda said they didn't want to reveal it until it is almost done. I have complete faith that Skyrim comes out on time.
  • Chaoscoolperson - January 21, 2011 7:41 p.m.

    Right now I dont care if ME:3 is delayed because i havent finished the first one due to other game taking up my time. >:(
  • Fuzunga - January 21, 2011 7:33 p.m.

    It's funny that, since this was posted, DNF has gotten a release date of May 3rd in the US and May 6th elsewhere.
  • yonderTheGreat - January 21, 2011 6:28 p.m.

    Why the HECK is Episode 3 on here? Valve has (has, yes, not have, I don't care!) already stated that it will NOT be released in 2011. And... I know this was "published" less than 24 hours before the announcement but HA! May 3rd, 2011. BAM!
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - January 21, 2011 6:17 p.m.

    @Jacky13 @tiben36 @batman5273 All good points, but read the entry again.
  • batman5273 - January 21, 2011 5:38 p.m.

    Duke Nuke'em Forever just announced will be released May3!
  • tiben36 - January 21, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    lol, i heard Duke Nukem Forever was out on may 3 in the usa